More Datsun 280z Heritage Restomod Episodes

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Parts Used In This Episode

Apex Engineered
BC Racing Coil Overs
Apex Engineered
CV Axle Shafts
Apex Engineered
Rear Suspension
The Industrial Depot
Tools, Hardware, Shop Supplies

Episode Transcript

(Jeremy)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Jeremy)>> Today on Carcass it's time to upgrade the handling on our '78 Datsun 280-Z with stronger suspension all the way around.

(Jimmy)>> We'll add a new differential to help handle our six-speed transmission and install beefier rotors and brakes. Plus, we'll see what accessories Nismo has to offer for your Nissan. [ Music ] [ engine revving ] [ Music ]

(Jeremy)>> Hey guys, welcome to Carcass. Well, we're well underway on our Datsun 280-Z project. I've got the engine out and the transmission out, and we've even got them cleaned up. Now it's time to work on one thing that we love to do the most, and that is to suspension work.

(Jimmy)>> And this car had pretty good suspension for its day, but we do have some better stuff to put under it. So, we have to get everything out from underneath, and the only thing we have to do up top is just get the nuts off the top off the top of the structs, but otherwise we'll get the car up and get everything out. [ drill humming ] [ Music ]

(Jimmy)>> So now we're on the bottom. Pretty simple down here too. We've just got to get the E-brake cables disconnected, get the sway bar disconnected from the body itself, and then there are 10 bolts holding the sub-frame in. So, we'll kinda get those loose, bring the car down a little bit, get something to roll out the sub-frame on, and that'll be it. [ Music ] [ drill humming ] [ Music ] [ drill humming ] [ Music ] [ drill humming ]

(Jeremy)>> I'm gonna lower the jack down slowly. I don't think it's gonna come out completely. [ Music ]

(Jimmy)>> Step on it a little bit. It's almost.

(Jeremy)>> Just kinda stuck on those studs, right?

(Jimmy)>> Let me get a pry bar.

(Jeremy)>> I'll try to rotate the front up. There it goes. That did it. So now I'm gonna go back down with the jack. You can raise the car up too at that point. [ mechanical humming ]

(Jeremy)>> You're good. Keep going! [ mechanical humming ]

(Jeremy)>> Yeah, that should do it. [ mechanical humming ]

(Jimmy)>> I do really like sub-frame cars because they are this easy to take apart. You don't have to take off each individual component. You just take out one big thing, and then you're ready to move on. [ drill humming ]

(Jeremy)>> So the rear suspension that we pulled out of the Datsun is pretty unique in the fact that it's rear independent suspension. This is more commonly what you would find in the front or a newer car, or an s-u-v, or a crossover. The way that this system works is you have to have something in the center to move the car forward. That's our differential here. Then we have two separate axle shafts, and then connected to that we have two separate hubs, and all of this can move independently from each other to give you a better ride. Now this was commonly found in the front of some vehicles, but to be found in the back of an older vehicle's pretty uncommon. So, when it came time for us to do an upgrade we had to go to the right spot. And that place is called Apex Engineered. Now these guys specialize in parts for your Datsun and your Nissans from 240, 260, 280, and even beyond that. Now our old rear suspension is big and bulky, and very heavy. Apex builds all their stuff out of steel tubing. So, it's very lightweight and it's very strong. We have their front and their rear suspension setup, but in the rear we've got their lower control arms. We've got their sub-frame here, and we even have the hubs so you can run a different set of coilovers. Now we took our kit one step further and we're gonna be using some parts out of a newer "Z". So, Apex built their rear sub-frame to handle a different rear diff, and we're gonna be doing the hubs with a different brake upgrade a little bit late. Now before I get all of this stuff assembled and installed, I've got a whole bunch of cleaning I've got to do underneath our "Z". We finish installing our rear suspension with new coilovers and upgraded axle shafts.

(Jeremy)>> Hey guys, welcome back. Now during the break we took care of a couple of things. Now Apex sends their crossmember, and it fits a 240, a 260, and a 280. Now even though those are all considered the S-chassis there are some variances in those chassis that we had to look at. So, we had to come up here and kinda notch into this rear crossmember on the body here to fit the differential that we're running. Now this diff is out of a 370-Z, and we got this one directly from Nissan, and the sub-frame is actually built to accept this differential. It's gonna work perfect in our car, and it goes up here and installs very simple with these two studs, and we got a couple of clamps. So, we'll get this into place and we'll keep moving forward. [ Music ] It's gonna be a little tricky to get in here, but what we'll do is get the bolts started. Then we'll slowly tighten down both sides and the back. Slow draw everybody up, and then we'll move on to the control arms. [ drill humming ] [ Music ] [ metal clanging ] [ Music ] [ ratchets clicking ]

(Jeremy)>> Now that we have the lower control arm installed it's time to move on to this upright. Now Datsun is a little unique in the fact that they actually have coilovers and shocks that weld onto their uprights. So, we're gonna be running a set of BC Racing coilovers. Now Apex makes their uprights to use a bunch of different manufacturers of coilovers. So, what we need to do with our coilover is set it over the top of the upright, and then we need to take a measurement between the bottom of the coilover and what is exposed here of the metal. What we're gonna do then is transfer that distance to the top of this upright, and we're gonna end up cutting that off because the main goal here is to get the bottom of our coilover to sit right at the edge of this exposed metal. So, we'll go ahead and take that measurement, and then we're gonna set everything in the car, and then we'll just tack it into place for now. Then we'll get the car on the ground, see if we like how it sits, and then we can weld everything up from there. [ Music ] Roughly five-eighths of an inch, I think. [ band saw humming ]

(Jeremy)>> Now we'll get this into place, and then we'll go up top and put the coilover in, and we'll get everything kinda lined up. Now we'll slide this together, hold it up here with this screw jack. Then I'm gonna go grab the tig welder. We're just gonna put a tack on it. That way we can get both sides done, and we'll even do the front. Set the car down on the ground and get a good feel what it looks like, and then we can always come back and weld everything up. Okay, now that we have the coilovers in the car we're gonna move on to the axle shafts. Now this is a stock c/v axle from the 370-Z that we got from Nissan, but Apex sends you a different center section to make this the correct length. I just need to tear this apart, switch out the center section, and we'll get this in the car. [ Music ] Now there's a little snap ring on the end of the axle shaft here. Use our snap ring pliers, try not to send that sailing across the room. Then this side just pulls off or should. There it goes! Just got to do that to the other side too. Alright, before we assemble the new axle shaft, we're gonna go ahead and clean all these parts up. Let's go wipe them down and we'll assemble the axle. Okay, so we'll start assembling our axle now. Now we're not gonna put the boots on cause this is kind of a mockup stage. We want to make sure everything fits. Once we know it fits then we'll go ahead and take it all back apart, add some fresh grease, and then put the boots on it. Alright, that's all the way down. Put the C-clip on. [ Music ] We'll slide that part in and put the big C-clip on. Then all we have to do is put the top C-clip in this, and then kinda hammer the other end on. [ hammer banging ]

(Jeremy)>> That bottomed out. Now we can go put it in the car. [ Music ] Should be able to fish this all up and in here without taking anything back apart. [ Music ] That works! Then the last thing to go on is the hub that we got from Nissan from the 370. We also have the backing plate with the E-brake shoes, and then this caliper bracket from Apex. Everything should slide right on. We'll bolt it up. Everything should fit, and then we'll have to just move on to the other side.

(Jimmy)>> We show you some of the performance accessories that Nismo has to offer for your Nissan.

(Jimmy)>> Hey everyone, welcome back to the shop. Jeremy and I have made a lot of good headway on our 280-Z. We've gotten the rear suspension buttoned up, and today we have a special guest with us. We have Jim from Nismo, and he's gonna talk to us about who they are and what they offer. So Jim, what is Nismo?

(Jim)>> That is a great question, Jimmy. Nismo's a bit of an enigma to not only some of our employees but the world. Nismo is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. A lot of our customers see us as one of two things. Whether we are just making cars or we're making parts, but there's a lot that goes behind the scenes. Nismo got started in the '80s. Kinda like just supporting all the racing that Nissan wanted to do to really get competitive, and you really started to see parts coming out of Nismo into vehicles around 1989 on the R-32 and S-13 platforms, and that's where you will see some of the parts that we offer. On the other side of that there's a whole team in Japan that makes cars. So, they're the guys that take a 370-Z and make a Nismo 370-Z, or they take a GTR and they make it a Nismo GTR, etcetera. There's just a whole group of really smart guys that do a great job of putting these cars together and taking them to the next level.

(Jimmy)>> So what is your role at Nismo then?

(Jim)>> Great question! I'm still learning. Stateside I'm part of what's called Nissan Motorsports, which is also like the US division of Nissan. There's Nismo Japan. That's the Omori factory. That's where you see all the cool shots where like guys from different car magazines go, and it's the holy grail or whatever. Stateside it's not quite as glamorous but we're working on it, but for me we started off as a mom and pop shop. If dealers knew or pro shops knew that they could get some parts or some JDM accessories, or o-e type parts they would come to us and order them. What we've done this year is really start to transition from that mom and pop design to how can we get parts into the warehouses that Nissan operates so that we can get parts to our dealers, and ultimately to our customers. That's happened this year. So, anything you want to order you can ask your dealer, and if he can't get it make the request and we'll work on trying to get those parts.

(Jimmy)>> So on the table here we've got some of what you guys offer, and it's in three different categories. We have the really high level performance stuff, we have more accessories, and then we have the JDM o-e style stuff. What is this down here?

(Jim)>> This is highlighting some of the JDM o-e-m parts that if you had a JDM car that you needed to fix, or if you had a US car that you wanted to upgrade. So, these taillights could fit in a hatchback S-13. So that's a US 240-SX. They come from a 180 SX. So, Japan, unlike the states, got a lot of cool drivelines, and parts, and accessories, and as an enthusiast I always wanted to get some of those JDM parts, add some flare to my car and just kinda stand out. As an enthusiast, as a Nismo head, that's what we all want. In parallel to that we also have things like a finned diff cover if you have a 370-Z, some clear taillights, but there's tons, and tons, and tons of o-e parts. So if you have that R-33 that you just imported and you scuffed the front bumper, or you broke an aero, or you need an intercooler these are the things that might be really had to come by but those are things we really worked on trying to get into our supply chain so that if a customer needs it we can meet that demand.

(Jimmy)>> Let's say you have a Sentra that's less performance oriented. You guys just have straight up accessories to kinda tastefully do your own thing with your car.

(Jim)>> Sometimes it's tasteful, sometimes maybe it's not so tasteful. There's a place for everybody in Nismo, and that's what I really like. So, if you have a Versa, if you have a Leaf. There's an engineer I work who has a Leaf and he kits it out, and there's a part of you that goes, is that wrong, and there's a part of you that goes, that's right. This is where you can add things like lug nuts, or you could add a shifter, oil filler cap. These don't add horsepower per se but you can tell your friends they do, and it's just kinda fun. Here is something that I would personally put on my own car. It's a GT titanium shift knob, straight from Nismo Japan. This might look really nice on your car. I'll leave it here just in case, and outside of all of that. So, say you're not quite sure where you land. You like the brand, you like the idea, maybe your girlfriend likes the logo and you're looking for some clothing, personalization is great here. If you wanted a T-shirt like this. If you wanted to have a coffee mug at your desk just to add some revs to your coffee, or if you wanted some sunglasses. There's tons and tons of kit we have available. So, if you just wanted to spruce up your life a little bit you can have anything you want.

(Jimmy)>> So back here we've got a 370-Z that's got some Nismo stuff on it. It's got wheels, a little carbon cover panel on one of the pillars, mirrors. You guys offer a lot for a lot of different platforms, and moving more onto the performance side you guys have some really high level stuff, like huge brakes, turbos, wheels. What does that look like at Nismo?

(Jim)>> Well this is getting into more of the performance side. So, this is like JDM, and then you accessorize it, and then you're like I want to take it to the next level. That's where people like me that like to mock cars in your garage you'll see this and you'll go oh, that's an S-15 GT-28 turbo. I'd like that for my S-15 that I'm importing. Or you have a Sentra and it has an SR-20, and you're like that makes sense, and you bolt it on and you make it work. Possibly you get some injectors, and you bring it all together with some engine management unless you've got a JDM e-c-u. But aside from that side of it you also have things like these 370-Z big brakes. So these are six pod front calipers and vented rotors. It's all part of a big kit. So if there's a person that has a 370 and they want to turn it into a time attack vehicle, they want to track it, or they really just like how those look and when they go to the grocery store they just want to stop on a dime. That does it. Of course intakes, and we also have all kinds of other kit, and at the end the holy grail for our Nissan Nismo customers it the LMGT-4 wheels. Those are wheels that we get about once a year. They're special order. We usually sell through them pretty quick, but everybody seems to want those, and then also coming out are these LMRS-1 wheels here in the back that are on this Z-car as another option. So, if a customer likes that but maybe it's not in the price point, or maybe doesn't work with the lines of their car, we have lots and lots of other wheel options for our customers.

(Jimmy)>> I think that's awesome that you guys offer this stuff, and not only for a lot of different platforms but you can just go to your dealer and get that kinda thing. So, if you guys have any Nissan projects make sure you check out Nismo. You can go straight to your dealer and order it, or you can go to nismoparts.nissanusa to get your stuff. Let's check out this car cause I haven't walked around it.

(Jeremy)>> Coming up, our "Z" gets a bigger brake and rotor combination. Plus, we fit our new wheels and tires designed for style and performance.

(Jeremy)>> Now we have the rear suspension already installed from Apex, and we went ahead and did the same thing up front. Now the big component of their front suspension is this tubular crossmember. They have it setup so you guys can run a couple different series of engines. If you choose to do so you just use a different engine mount. You can run an RB, 2-JZ, an LS, or in our case the L-28. Plus, they have these brackets that run back here to the tension bar mount. So, it makes this setup extremely rigid. Now traveling out from there we have a fully adjustable aluminum tension bar. That means we can set up our suspension just the way that we like it. Plus, we're running their Apex Quick Steer knuckles. We have their hub mounts here. We're running a set of BC coilovers just like in the back. Now just like in the back we're running a bunch of different stuff from a 370-Z. That's the same thing we're doing up front. We're using a set of their front hubs, and since all the hubs match all the way around the car we're gonna be running a set of 370-Z brakes as well. Now this brake setup is gonna be a huge upgrade over the stock brakes on the Datsun for two good reasons. One, both front and rear rotors measure in at a whopping 14 inches. Plus, the front calipers are a four piston caliper and the rear calipers are dual piston calipers. Now this setup is out of a 370-Z Sport and Apex builds their kits so this stuff bolts directly into place. So, let's get started. Slide this caliper on here and get it to fit, put some bolts in it, and we'll be done. [ Music ]

(Jimmy)>> To get our Datsun back on the ground we have a brand new set of wheels and tires with Rota's RKRs in a 17 by 9.5, and Continental's brand new Extreme Contact Force in a 255/40-17. These tires are really cool because they are an ultra high performance summer tire, but also designed for endurance racing. They feature a 200-tread wear rating. So, if we decide to take our car and do some spirited driving the car's gonna have no problem gripping in the turs. Let's say we take it to a track, which this car is very capable of now with the new suspension, these tires can go lap after lap. They'll handle the heat, and they'll give us consistent lap times. These tires also feature their Sport Plus technology, which gives better grip and handling in wet conditions and better tread life. To get this on here we have longer wheel studs from ARP, a Baer Brakes wheel spacer, and some Dorman lug nuts that we got from Summit Racing. So, we've kinda mocked this up before and we might have to go a little bit thicker on the wheel spacer. These brakes are huge. So, we just want to make sure we have enough clearance for when everything heads up and kinda expands. [ drill humming ]

(Jimmy)>> Alright, let's get a look at it with all the weight on it.

(Jeremy)>> I like the tread design.

(Jimmy)>> The tires look cool!

(Jeremy)>> It fits the car very well! Get it all the way down here on the ground. Is that it?

(Jimmy)>> We might be on the lift still.

(Jeremy)>> It would go lower than this.

(Jimmy)>> Once we get the alignment set and get the tires tilted in with the camber and everything the flare should cover it.

(Jeremy)>> Wrap it up for the day?

(Jimmy)>> Let's put on the wheel chalks.

(Jeremy)>> If you guys like anything you've seen on the show today check out Powernation TV. [ mechanical humming ]
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